Today, mercantilism is typically dismissed as an archaic and blatantly erroneous set of ideas about economic policy.
Neverthwless, the liberal model has become severely tarnished, owing to the rise in inequality and the plight of the middle class in the West, together with the financial crisis that deregulation spawned. Medium-term growth prospects for the American and European economies range from moderate to bleak. Unemployment will remain a major headache and preoccupation for policymakers. So mercantilist pressures will likely intensify in the advanced countries.
As a result, the new economic environment will produce more tension than accommodation between countries pursuing liberal and mercantilist paths. It may also reignite long-dormant debates about the type of capitalism that produces the greatest prosperity.